2011 was an unprecedented year for social change. The Arab Spring, the “indignados” of Spain, anti-corruption campaigning in India, Moving Planet, Occupy Wall Street, the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline in the United States — on and on I could list the extraordinary citizen mobilizations that have sprung up to challenge the status quo and return power to the people, not dictators, corporations, polluters.
Not every struggle of the year received the attention it deserves — and that can definitely be said of the movement against the proposed coal-fired power plant in Gerze, Turkey. The proposed 1,200 MW coal plant is among the first of over 50 coal plants now being pushed in Turkey. It’s already been a 3 year struggle for heroic local residents to block the project. This year they’ve been camping by the hundreds and protesting by the thousands for weeks and months on end. When over 10,000 people took to the streets together in November, one sign in particular caught my eye. It read: “the people of Gerze do not stand alone.”
It’s as clear to the people of Gerze as it is to people around the world: we have better alternatives to fossil fuels, we are not going to sit idly by as corporations attempt to profit from polluting our communities and our planet, and no, we are not alone.
Bill McKibben, 350.org